Researcher appeals for help from north Northumberland residents

A researcher has appealed for information about a young escaped slave who came to north Northumberland in the 1840s.

By Ian Smith
Wednesday, 15 May, 2019, 15:42
Moses Roper toured north Northumberland in the 1840s.

Dr Hannah-Rose Murray, a researcher at Nottingham University, is keen to identify any surviving original documents which mention Moses Roper’s visits.She got in touch with Belford Hidden History Museum which has shared her appeal.It is known that Roper came to Britain in the late 1830s and, in 1840, began a series of lecture tours across Britain.Later, he wrote a book about his experiences, and mentioned Belford, Wooler and Seahouses Presbyterian Churches as places where he spoke, before continuing his tour into the Scottish Borders.North Northumberland Presbyterians already had a good track record for concern over slavery - as early as 1788, the minute book of the North Northumberland Presbytery records members signing an Anti-Slavery Petition. Then in 1792 petitions of 400 signatures from both Belford and Wooler were submitted to Parliament.When Moses Roper visited these communities, he could be confident of interested and committed audiences. Roper’s own records give the United Secession Church as the scene of his lecture in Belford.Museum volunteers decided to investigate further and in Berwick Archives found a brief account of Roper’s visit to Belford on 18 February 1846, in the Berwick and Kelso Warder. A week later he lectured in the Golden Square Chapel in Berwick. The article detailed the ‘monstrous cruelties’ he had endured in the United States.If anyone has any information, email belfordmuseum@gmail.com or contact Hannah at the Department of American and Canadian Studies

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